jeudi 9 juin 2011

Finally, back in California

I'm finally back in California!! After an eventful flight, I arrived at SF airport at midnight, Monday night. What happened was, in Paris, our flight was delayed by 2.5 hours due to the weather. So, most of us who were going to SF missed our transfer flight from London to SF. British Airways wouldn't hold the flight for us, instead transfering us to the flight next day. I was like, no I need to get back to the states today. So they put me on the flight to Chicago, and from there, transter to another flight to SF. I got home 8 hours later than I was supposed to.

What a flight.

I'm back in Davis now, still suffering from jet lag. My friend has been helping me stay up and try to get over my jet lag. I've been mostly just meeting up with friends and seeing people and enjoying the Davis campus for the last time before Monterey next week.

Graduation this sunday!!! I still can't believe time has flown by so fast. In a blink of an eye, 4 years are over and I'm ready to move to a new chapter of my life. The future is a wide open door, filled with possibilities, new adventures, and excitement. I can't wait! And I'm so excited to be taking Russian at one of the best language schools in the country.

Next stop: find a job for a year, study for GREs, take the GREs, apply for grad school.

ready? get set? GO!!!

dimanche 5 juin 2011

Paris, France (5/5) Louvre

Today is my last full day in Paris. Tomorrow, I leave for the States at exactly 12:25pm from Paris.

So today, being that I was very lazy and tired, I just headed to the Louvre. It's the first Sunday of the month, so it's free to everyone, not that it would have affected me, since I would have entered free anyways. I woke up this morning, wanting to get there early so I don't have to be in line for a long time. I've heard people waiting up to 3 hours in line just to get inside the Louvre.

Taking the metro to the Louvre, I went inside the Palais Royal around 9:30am, of course, expecting a line, but the line wrapped around the first courtyard where the Pyramid was, and also the second courtyard to the street. Yay. Luckily, the wait wasn't that long, maybe because it's free, so people don't need to stand in line and buy tickets. I only waited for an hour and 15 mins.

Once inside, I got myself a map and started to walk. I found the Mona Lisa, Madonna of the Rocks, the Code of Hammurabi, and many other famous paintings and sculptures. There were so many people at the Mona Lisa. It was smaller than I expected but still interesting to see. All in all, there was too much people. Way too much.

I met some people who were doing volunteer work in Africa for three months. It's part of their 2 year required experience before getting into grad school for public health. That must have been an interesting experience.

Tomorrow, back to the states! California, Here I come!

samedi 4 juin 2011

Paris, France (4/5)

Today...

I met up with a friend that I met in 2006 in Beijing. She's be in France for 3 years now, which by the way, I'm totally envious. We made plans to meet up at Trocadéro at 10am. At Trocadéro, there's a glorious view of the Eiffel Tower, and I got some shots there. I wanted to go to the Musée de l'homme, because it contains the remains of Lucy, the female discovered in Africa, and is one of the oldest links between man and apes. But they were closed for renovation, so my friend and I went to the Museum of Monet instead. That museum actually cost 5 euros but it wasn't bad.

After that we ate and took a metro back to the Eiffel Tower and took a boat down the Seine river. And I did see my neighbors again...... for the last time. We took pictures together and did one last kisses/hugs. I'm going to miss them. And I hope I can see them again.

So tomorrow. Louvre, that is; if I can get my lazy butt out of the house and into the rain and wait in line. If I don't get to visit the Louvre, it's fine. It just means I'll have to come back :D

2 more days til the states!

vendredi 3 juin 2011

Paris, France (3/5)

Paris, day 3 conquered. That leaves tomorrow, to explore more of Paris and Sunday for Louvre.

Today, I didn't see as much as I did on Wednesday. I went to:

Musée Rodin
Memorial de la SHOAH (holocaust museum)
Les Arts Decoratif.

I was going to go see the Catacombs, but the line was absolutely huge so I didn't wait in it. The Musée Rodin also had a line. I think I waited for about 30-40 mins there, which wasn't bad at all. Went in and got my ticket (freeee: I SHOULD MENTION THAT FREE MEANS STUDENTS FROM 18-25 YEARS OLD IN THE EUROPEAN UNION. IF YOU'RE A FOREIGNER BETWEEN THOSE AGES, IT DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU).

In the Rodin museum was a garden, where some of his works were displayed. I saw the Thinker and I saw the Gate to Hell. His work is pretty amazing. The Meditation was also there.

From there, I took the metro to the Catacombs, and didn't go in since the line was super long. So after that, I walked all the way to the Memorial de la SHOAH, the holocaust museum. There's a wall outside, or several that depicts all the French Jews that were rounded up during French occupation. Inside the museum is a memorial to all the Jews, whose ashes are buried there, with an eternal flame, in rememberance. That museum is definitely worth visitng.

The decorative art museum, you can go, if you want to or not. They have a temporary exposition on old cars. I didn't see that, instead I saw the galerie of jewelry, as well as Middle Age and Renaissance, Classical decoration for houses. That was pretty cool. I went there because Yves and Séverine are here for 4 days, and they went to see the Automobile exposition. We planned to meet up there, so I went too.

It was great seeing them. I'm not sure if we're meeting up tomorrow, but we already said our goodbyes. I'd still love to meet up with them regardless. Saying goodbye to them was really hard, and I'm not really good at it. But I'll send them regular updates. They've been great to me (as I've said many times). They've been my French family for 9 glorious months.

2 more days, and Monday I'm back in the states!!

jeudi 2 juin 2011

Paris, France (2/5) Versailles

Second day in Paris! Well, in Versailles. I spent almost the entire day there!

So my friend and her mom took me there today. We left around 8:40am, and got to Versailles from 9:20am. From there, we bought tickets, and mine was freeee (again, for students from 18-25). While there was no line at the ticket center, there was a long line for getting inside the castle, as you do need to pass through security. I think we waited for about an hour, which wasn't that bad. At the security check, the lady looked at the ticket and asked us how old we were. My friend said, 22 and 18. And then the ticket lady pointed at me...you're...18? @_@

Once inside, my friends picked up an audio guide for me. Her mom picked one up for me in English and me and my friend swapped, so I can practice my French and she can practice her English.

First, there was the Chapel that was magnificant. From there,

1. Hercules drawing room
2. Drawing room of the Plenty
3. Venus drawing room
4. Diana drawing room
5. Mars drawing room
6. Mercury drawing room, or Bedchamber
7. Apollo drawing room, or throne room
8. War drawing room
9. Hall of Mirrors
10. Bull's Eye Salon
11. King's Chamber
12. The Council Study
13. Peace drwaing room
14. Queen's bedchamber
15. Salon des Nobles
16. Queen's antechamber, or antechamber of the grand courvert
17. Queen's Guardroom

The Hall of Mirrors (Glass), I believe is where they signed the Treaty of Versailles.

After the palaces, which isn't too big, there was just a lot of people, I found my friend and her mom in the Versailles garden, which was just amazing. The Garden was huge, separated into sections. Easy to see, but a big tiring. There's a grand canal in the middle of the garden, that if you want, you can take a canoe there. I'm not sure how much it is, since I didn't go on it. For lunch, we all brought salads, and sat by the Canal and had lunch there. Very relaxing.

After Versailles, my friend's mom dropped her off at Porte Maillot, and we went to Auvers-sur-Oise, where Van Gogh painted the church there. The painting is called the Church at Auvers. I also saw the grave of Vincent Van Gogh and his brother, Theo.

Overall, a great and sunny, yet windy day. Tomorrow, I plan to see more of Paris, and Saturday as well. Sunday, I'm going to attempt to conquer Louvre. That will be quite the adventure.

mercredi 1 juin 2011

Paris, France (1/5)

My first day of Paris conquered! This is what I saw:

Arc du Triomphe
Effiel Tower
Place de la Concorde
Jardin des Tuileries
The Pyramid at the Louvre
The building of La Tour Maubourg
Musée d'Orsay
Notre Dame
Beaubourg
Pere Lachaise Cemetery


I left my friend's house at 9:45am this glorious morning. It was a bit chilly when I stepped out the door today, but warmed up later on. I found the train to get to Gare Saint Lazare. When I got out of the Saint Lazare station, I looked on the map intending to find the Charles de Gaulle Etoile, to find the Arc du Triomphe. I got some photos there and from there, walked to the Effiel Tower. After seeing this in countless pictures, I'm finally seeing it in person, still feels a little sureal.

I didn't go up there, since there was a line and I don't want to waste time waiting, so after taking a couple of shots there, I went my merry way. I walked all the way to Place de la Concorde, passing the Tour Maubourg, and saw the huge Obélisque. That was pretty cool. The Place de la Concorde is one of the largest squares in Paris, in the 8th arrondissement. During the French Revolution, it was a popular center to execute people with the guillotine. Queen Marie Antoinette was executed here, along with about 1300 other people.

Next to the Place de la Concorde, was the Jardin des Tuileries, which directly connects with the Louvre. It is a public garden created by Catherine de Medicis. The garden was beautiful, really enjoyed walking in it. There were lots of people there day, sun bathing, walking or jogging.

The Louvre. I got some shots of the pyramid, but I haven't gone inside it. I plan to conquer it (and the crowd) on Sunday. It looks like it'll rain on Sunday, so I could definitely spend a couple of hours in the museum.

From the Louvre, I walked to the Musée d'Orsay. Lucky for me, there was no line so I got in easily. And the awesome part was that it was freeeeee. Free for students between 18-25. It took me about 2 hours to get through. When I finished, I realized I didn't get to see Degas' La Petite Danseuse (The little ballet dancer statue), so I rushed back to the Impressionism section and found it. I think I've got a good dose of Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, and Van Gogh. No photography is allowed in the museum, so I just took some outside the musuem.

From the museum, I walked to the island to see Notre Dame. Again, this was awesome. I think we get influenced by Disney too much. I didn't go inside, as, again, there was a huge line.

After Notre Dame, I wanted to find a metro, so I could get to Pere Lachaise Cemetery. By that time, it was already 4:30pm and I've been walking for 6 hours straight. So, needless to say, my feet hurt. It took me like 20 mins to find the metro, and finally, on my way to Pere Lachaise. I wanted to find the graves of Chopin, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison. I wasn't expecting the Cemetery to be a giant maze. It took me an hour and 15 mins to find 3 graves. Chopin's was awesome. But both Morrison's grave and Piaf's grave were kind of hidden, so that's why it took a longer time.

That was my last stop of the day. Tonight will be spent resting my feet. And tomorrow, off to the Chateau Versailles!!!

mardi 31 mai 2011

Paris

I am officially in Paris. :D


I took the train from Lyon to Paris at 16h46, and got here around 19h02. My friend Juliette and her friend came to the train station to pick me up. We finally got to her place about half an hour to 40 mins later. So, I got see part of Paris via metro and train today. Tomorrow, it is off to the Center of Paris! My plan for tomorrow is:

Musée d'Orsay
Champs Élysée - Arc du Triomphe
Notre Dame
Place de Concordes
Museum of the Middle Ages

And walk along the river and get lost in Paris! I am currently planning out my trip for tomorrow. This should be fun. =]